Women’s hockey skates into second season

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Women’s hockey skates into second season

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

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Suffolk Women’s Hockey officially dropped the puck to kickoff their second season in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC). In their inaugural season the Rams finished with 15 wins and made the playoffs, showing their stripes early and often.

The team ended the 2018-19 season with a 2-1 loss to University of Massachusetts Boston in the NEHC Quarterfinals, and now look towards bouncing back in hopes of surpassing last year’s accomplishments.

The group is coached by Taylor Wasylk. Under her direction in their first years are Assistant Coach Bridget O’Brien and Volunteer Assistant Coach Tess Adams.

Adams was a senior on the team last year and wanted to continue her endeavors with the program.

“I’m wicked excited for them,” said Wasylk. “[Adams] brings an interesting perspective, as she was in their shoes last year. [She] is also friends with the girls, allowing them to go to her on things they might not be overly comfortable with bringing up to Bridget [O’Brien] or myself.”

Behind the coaching staff is a diverse roster this season, with a large amount of last year’s players returning. Of those returning, the eldest players are juniors Abbey Weisrock, Halle Usseglio and Kristen Caporusso.

The team has also added two new juniors: Maddy Burton, who transferred from Merrimack College, and Meagan MacNeil of Saint Anselm College.

“They’re doing great things for us already; however it is an adjustment for them with different schools and different academics,” said Wasylk. “Burton is coming from a Division I program.”

When talking about MacNeil, Wasylk left no stone unturned.

“MacNeil is solid, shut everyone down, does nothing flashy, and is just all around great on defense,” said Wasylk. “We hope she can work her way into the powerplay and penalty kill moving forward.”

While the Rams are welcoming some new faces to the team, 16 of 17 sophomores returned from last season. Of those 16 returning, many have showcased their skills. Molly Dowd, Molly Hitchens, Emily Johnston and Jesse Kennedy were all awarded ACHA All American Scholar Honors.

“Being a recipient of the ACHA All American Scholars Honors award makes me feel proud,” said Dowd. “Not only do I put countless hours into bettering myself on the ice, but I also take academics seriously as well and devote a lot of my time to the classroom.”

Last season Shana Cote, Payton Dockus, and Haley Poloskey were all awarded Rookie of the Week; and Cote, the Rookie of the Year award. Madison Duff and Cote both were selected to NEHC All-Conference Teams, Duff selected Second Team for Defense and Cote Third Team as a forward.

The new freshmen additions to the team are Cassidy Gruning, Julia McLellan and Madison Ricardo.

“McLellan did extremely well for us in her freshmen debut,” said Waslyk. “Caporusso and McLellan are going to push each other to be the best they can be.”

In lieu of the term ‘captain’, the team has a newly formed “leadership group.” This group consists of four players; Kristen Caporusso, Shana Cote, Madison Duff and Payton Dockus.

The leadership group has prepared the team to reach their goals this season.

“Our goals for this year are high as the team is coming off of a big season,” said Caporusso. “We’re hoping to do better by making it to playoffs and going at least past the first round.”

The leadership group has high standards for themselves, as they all said that they hope to lead by example both on and off the ice.

“We need to motivate, and push the team into new heights of playing level and have a really high will to win every game,” said Cote.

Since the beginning of the season, the team has gone 1-3 with a road win against Plymouth State University, and a loss in their home opener against the Castleton University Spartans. Despite this, the Rams looks to strike back, as they have three more conference games in the month of November and the rest of the season to look forward to.

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